Iraq: sectarian war escalating fast

At least 40 were killed in clashes that raged overnight after militants launched coordinated attacks on two Iraqi prisons July 22. The attacks on the prisons at Taji and Abu Ghraib, both outside Baghdad, included car bombs and mortar strikes on the front gates before gunmen assaulted the guards. At least 500 prisoners escaped.  (AFP, July 22)  A coordinated wave of seven car bombs tore through bustling streets July 20 in Shi’ite areas of Baghdad, leaving some 45 dead. (AP, July 20) On July 19, a bomb blast at a Sunni mosque during Friday prayers in the town of Wajihiya, Diyala, killed 20 people. Violence has killed at least 200 in Iraq since the start of Ramadan. (Rudaw, July 22; RFE/RL, July 19)

At al-Zad, a town near the northern Iraqi city of Kirkuk, gunmen killed five members of the Kurdish militia forces at a checkpoint in northern Iraq on July 21. In a separate attack, gunmen attacked a police checkpoint in the northern city of Mosul, killing two. “The holy month of Ramadan should be a time for spirituality and forgiveness instead of increasing violence and division,” said Martin Kobler, in his final statement as the United Nations envoy to Iraq. “I am deeply saddened that my last words as the SRSG (UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative) for Iraq have to be linked to violence and criminal acts.” (Reuters, July 21)

Shi’ite militant Wathiq al-Battat, calling himself secretary-general of Hezbollah in Iraq, admitted in a TV appearance on July 11 to carrying out killings and bombings in Baghdad, through a militia called the Mukhtar Army. Iraqi forces then decided to arrest the station’s staff who had conducted the interview—without arresting Battat himself. Battat announced in February the formation of a militia designed to kill al-Qaeda members and Ba’athists, in retaliation for the attackls on Iraq’s Shi’ites. Iraq’s judicial authorities months ago issued an arrest warrant for Battat, which has yet to be implemented. (Al-Monitor, July 21)

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  1. Eid terror in Iraq
    A wave of car bombings targeting those celebrating the end of Ramadan across Iraq killed 69 people Aug. 10. The attacks mostly hit public places such as markets and restaurants in Shi’ite areas of Baghdad, but deadly blasts also went off on a busy street in Nasiriyah and a Shi’ite mosque in Kirkuk. (AP, Aug. 10)

  2. HRW: July 29 Iraq bombings were crimes against humanity
    Human Rights Watch (HRW) stated Aug. 11 that the Islamic State of Iraq had committed crimes against humanity during the July 29 bombings in Iraq. The July 29 bombings killed over 60 people, and July was the bloodiest month in Iraq in over five years according to the United Nations Assistance Mission in Iraq (UNAMI) estimates. UNAMI reported that 1,057 Iraqis died and 2,326 were wounded in July due to terrorism. The Islamic State of Iraq stated that the bombings were retaliation for government security forces’ attack on a Sunni protest camp in Hawija.

    From Jurist, Aug. 11. Used with permission.

  3. More terror in Iraq
    A series of bomb attacks killed at least 22 people across Iraq on Aug. 12. At least 16 people died and 41 others were injured when a suicide bomber targeted a crowded cafe in Balad, north of Baghdad. Two roadside bombs—one planted near a playground and another near a school—also killed six people and wounded dozens, some of them children, in the town of Muqdadiya, northeast of the capital. (Reuters, Aug. 12)

  4. More sectarian terror in Iraq
    Car bomb blasts killed at least 34 in Baghdad on Aug. 15. More than 100 people were wounded in at least eight blasts, one of which was near the “Green Zone” diplomatic complex. (Reuters, Aug. 16) Two days earlier, seven were killed when car bombs went off near a Shi’ite mosque in the town of Madain south of Baghdad. One blast taregted worshippers were leaving the mosque. (AP, Aug. 13)

    The Assyrian International News Agency reports a renewed wave of attacks on Assyrian Christians in Iraq in recent weeks, with shops being bombed and churches sprayed with gunfire. (AINA, June 26)

    Christian minorities are now under attack in Syria as well…

  5. More sectarian terror in Iraq
    Car bomb blasts and other explosions tore through mainly Shiite districts around Baghdad during morning rush hour Aug. 28, in a day of violence that killed at least 80. (LAT)

  6. More sectarian terror in Iraq
    A co-ordinated car and suicide bomb attack on a Shi’ite mosque in Baghdad’s northern Kasra district killed at least 33 and injured 55 the evening of Sept. 11. Worshippers were leaving the mosque after prayers when the car bomb exploded, and as onlookers rushed to help the wounded, a suicide bomber blew himself up in their midst. Another would-be-suicide bomber was apparently stabbed  to death by the angry mob before he could detonate. (Reuters, Sept. 11)

  7. More sectarian terror in Iraq
    At least 60 people were killed as suicide bombers targeted a funeral in the Baghdad Shi’ite district of Sadr City on Sept. 21. A tent where mourners were gathered was hit by two explosions, one of them a suicide car bomb. A third explosion followed as police, ambulances and firefighters arrived at the scene. Women and children are among the dead, and more than 120 are injured. (BBC News)

  8. More sectarian terror in Iraq
    A suicide bomber detonated his explosive belt in a funeral tent filled with Sunni mourners in Baghdad Sept. 22, killing 16 and wounding 35. In an earlier attack that day, a suicide bomber rammed an explosives-laden car into a residential area of Kirkuk, wounding 35. The bomber targeted a Kurdish educational office and the adjacent house of a Christian lawmaker. (NYT)

  9. More sectarian terror in Iraq
    Nine car bombs mainly targeting predominantly Shi’ite neighborhoods of Baghdad killed at least 60 people and wounded 170 others Sept. 30. The deadliest blast tore through a vegetable market in the Kadhimiyah area, killing seven, including two soldiers, and wounding 16 others On Sept. 27, bombs exploded near two Sunni mosques in Baghdad as worshippers left after Friday prayers, killing six. The UN mission in Iraq said about 800 Iraqis were killed in acts of violence in August. (Al Jazeera, Sept. 30)

  10. Iraq: terror in Baghdad, Irbil
    A string of attacks across Iraq, including a coordinated wave of evening bombings in mostly Shi’ite districts of Baghdad, killed at least 45 people Oct. 7. Just two days earlier, two suicide bombers targeted Shi’ites, killing 60. In Baghdad, a militant detonated his explosives at a checkpoint, killing 48 Shi’ite pilgrims on their way to visit a shrine in the Kadhimiya district. Another suicide bomber blew himself up inside a cafe in a mainly Shi’ite town of Balad, north of Baghdad, killing 12 people. The cafe was targeted in an almost identical bombing 40 days earlier. 

    Iraq’s Qaeda franchise meanwhile claimed responsibility for a recent doulbe suicide attack in the relatively peaceful Kurdish north. The Sept. 29 twin suicide car bombs hit a complex housing the regional Interior Ministry and other security agencies in Irbil, capital of the Kurdish region, killing at least six Kurdish troops and wounding more than 30 others. The attacks were the biggest in the Kurdish region since 2007, when a suicide truck bombing hit the same ministry, killing 14. (AP, Oct. 7; Reuters, Oct. 5)

  11. Eid terror in Iraq
    Like Eid al-Fitr in August, the current Eid al-Adha celebrations have seen an upsurge of terror in Iraq. Apparently coordinated car bomb and suicide bomb blasts hit Baghdad and two villages in the country’s north Oct. 17, killing at least 59. Ten blasts targeted Shi’ite areas of the capital, while a car bomb in Mwafaqiyav (al-Mouafaqiyah), Nineveh, killed 15 members of the Shi’ite Shabak minority. Another bomb went off in a cafe in Tuz Khormato, outside Kirkuk, killing three and wounding 28. (CBS, Reuters)

  12. Iraq: ‘war of genocide’ seen
    Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki warned on Oct. 23 that the country is facing a “war of genocide,” after militants killed 49 people in two days of attacks. In Baghdad that day, a roadside bomb in the Ghazaliyah area killed at least three people and wounded 11. Another killed four and wounded at least nine in Madain, south of the capital. Two Sahwa anti-Qaeda fighters were also kidnapped and killed in the northern governorate of Kirkuk, and a bomb killed a police officer in Baquba, capital of Diyala governorate. Gunmen killed six people in the northern city of Mosul, while five people were shot dead in and near the city the day before. Anbar governorate, west of Baghdad, was hit by a series of attacks Oct. 22 that killed 28 people. Four of the attacks struck targets in and around the town of Rutba, near the border with Syria. (AFP) A suicide bomber drove a minibus into a busy cafe in a Shi’ite district of Baghdad on Oct. 20 night, killing three and wounding 45. (The Guardian)

  13. Maliki seeks military aid
    Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki flew to Washington on Oct. 29, seeking urgent military supplies to fight an upsurge in sectarian violence Speaking at Baghdad airport before flying out for three days of talks in Washington that will culminate at the White House on Friday, Maliki said it was “urgent” that Iraq receive “offensive weapons to combat terrorism and hunt armed groups.” (Reuters)

  14. More sectarian terror in Iraq

    At least 14 were been killed and 30 others injured in a string of attacks across Iraq Nov. 6. Half were killed in a suicide attack on a police headquarters at  al-Salam near Baquba. Four were killed in a blast at an outdoor market in Baghdad’s northern Sab al-Bor suburb. (Al Jazeera, Nov. 6)


  15. Ashura terror in Iraq —again
    At least 19 were killed in Iraq Nov. 13 in bomb targeting police and Shi’ite pilgrims commemorating the festival of Ashura. In the deadliest attack, 10 people were killed when a suicide bomber drove a truck packed with explosives into a police checkpoint in al-Alam near Tikrit. Near the city of Baquba, three roadside bombs exploded near a group of pilgrims, killing nine. (Al Jazeera, Nov. 13)

  16. Ashura terror in Iraq —again
    Three attacks targeting Shi’ite pilgrims in Iraq Nov. 14 killed 41 in Diyala, Hafriyah and Kirkuk. Security has been beefed up in Karbala in anticipation of the arrival of some 200,000 pilgrims, many from Iran. (The News, Pakistan)

  17. More sectarian terror in Iraq
    A series of shootings and bombings left at least 33 people dead across Iraq Nov. 27. In Baghdad, the bodies of 18 people who had been executed were found in Shia and Sunni districts, including three men and two women from the same family. Meanwhile, nine people died and 20 were injured in the city of Ramadi, west of the capital, when suicide bombers and gunmen attacked two police stations.

    Sectarian violence has surged across the country in recent months. The UN says 979 people, including 158 police and 127 military personnel, were killed in violent attacks in October. More than 6,500 civilians have died since January, the highest annual toll since 2008. (BBC News)

  18. Iraq police locate bodies of suspected Qaeda victims
    Iraqi police forces on Nov. 29 alleged that al-Qaeda is responsible for the bodies of 18 men found who had been abducted and shot in the head. The victims were taken from their houses early that morning by men in military uniforms, and among the dead are a police officer, an army official, a school headmaster, a Sunni sheikh and his son. A senior police official believed al-Qaeda was involved because the group had been operating in the area where the bodies were located. Police officers also found an additional seven decapitated male bodies from a separate attack farther north. Although the police are unsure who was behind the deaths, security officials also indicated that al-Qaeda is also active in that area.

    From Jurist, Nov. 29. Used with permission.

  19. More terror in Iraq

    A car bomb near a cafe in Buhriz, south of Baquba, killed at least eight people and wounded more than 20 on Nov. 9. The attack came a day after a series of bombings in and around Baghdad killed at least 39 people. Violence in Iraq has reached a level this year not seen since 2008. Nearly 950 people were killed in the month of November alone. (Al Jazeera)